Monday, August 9, 2010

Delhi Gate: The Royal Passage

Delhi Gate of walled city is one the thirteen historic gates of Lahore.
The Delhi gate is named as Delhi gate because of its opening on the high road from Lahore to Delhi.

It was first built in the Mughal era, but the British demolished the old gate and the buildings around it. The remains of the old gate still exist as “Chitta Darwaza” (the White Gate) about a hundred meters away from the present gate. It was once the main entrance to the city because of its proximity to the main road.

The area near the gate is a historical place, in which a number of old buildings, havelis and markets are located. The Wazir Khan Mosque and Sunehri Mosque of Mughal era can be accessed from this gate.

This building if Delhi Gate has quite a huge architecture. Adjoining, left-hand stair wall of the gate, are located beautiful Hammams made by Wazir Khan, the Governor of Lahore during Shah Jahan,s period. The Shahi Hamam is at the beginning of what is known as the Shahi Guzargah (Royal Passage). People travelling from Delhi and Agra to the Lahore Fort or Walled City used this Hamam to freshen up after a long journey. It was built during the reign of Shah Jahan by Wazir Khan and is the largest Mughal Hamam in Pakistan. More commonly known as Shahi Hamam, the Wazir Khan Hamam is spread over 1,110 square feet and was built using brick tiles and limestone cement.  There exists a small library and a reading room in a part of the monument. A visit to the building leads one into the city life of 16th century that is no more. Coming out of the Hammams, taking left turn, one moves in the bazaar towards Masjid Wazir Khan.

In the bazaar about 100 meters from the Delhi Gate there comes a Gate which is called ‘Sufaid Gate’. Nothing is either written or known about the background except that this is an entry point to Chowk Wazir Khan from where the bazaar leads to Chowk Purrani Kotwali. The Sufaid Gate is constructed of old small burnt bricks in lime mortar and should be coming down any moment, as it is in a really bad shape. One left side of Chowk Wazir Khan is Masjid Wazir Khan, in front Chowk Purani Kotwali behind which a modern market has been built. We have separately discussed the beauty of Masjid Wazir Khan as an architectural monument that is one of the two best mosques in the world.
It is famous for its extensive faience tile work. It has been described as ' a mole on the cheek of Lahore'. It was built in seven years, starting around 1634-1635 A.D., during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It was built by Shaikh Ilm-ud-din Ansari, a native of Chiniot, who rose to be the court physician to Shah Jahan and later, the Governor of Lahore. He was commonly known as Wazir Khan.

Continuing with the bazaar from Chowk Wazir Khan one will find that there is an upward height. This is because Lahore was founded on a mound and later built and re-built on the accumulated debris of many centuries. On the way you can the golden domes of Sunheri Mosque. The founder of the mosque was Nawab Syed Bhikari Khan, son of Raushan-ud-Daula Turrabaz Khan, deputy governor of Lahore during the reign of Muhammad Shah and the viceroyalty of Mir Noin-ul-Malik. It was built in 1753 CE and features three beautiful golden domes. The mosque is elevated on a higher plinth, surrounded by old bazaars.

 From Chowk Purani Kotwali the bazaar leads towards Chuna Mandi. All the houses both or right and left have been transformed into shos. This bazaar which is now being renovated and converted into proper shops had its old name as ‘Bazar Rada Tailian’ replaced by Azam Cloth Market’s extension. Infact Azam Colth Market has its extension known as Kashmir Block in this bazaar. The bazaar and street at the widest points is not more that 8-10 feet and with open drains running on both side of the walls leaving very little space for movement. In parts sewerage system has been laid but does not appear to be working. On reaching upto Chowk Jamia Masjid, Chuna Mandi from where on the righ side ‘Bungalow Ayub Road’ leads us out to Sheranwala and Yakki Gates.

There is a momentous Sikh Monument ‘Gurdawara Janam Asthan Sri Guru Ram Das Jee’. Guru Ram Das Je was the fourth Guru of Sikhs and was founder of the Sikh sacred city of Amritsar. This buiding is in good condition. I had a chance to visit that place and also had “Prasad”.

The area is full of life and history. Since mughal era this area has been the important political, economic and history factor. Whenever you get the chance to visit Lahore, must visit this historic place

Photography: Afzal Abbas

The Delhi Gate

Shahi Hamam , Top view

Shahi Hamam, inside view

You can see remains of Sufaid(white) Gate

old architecture

a sikh family was shopping there

The Bazaar

Masjid Wazir Khan

Masjid Wazir Khan

Sunehri Masjid

Janam Asthan Guru Ram Das ji


  1. Thanks for a beautiful blog and pictures. Raj, Calgary, Canada

  2. wonderful.....very informative